Women’s shoes in large sizes were available for men walking in the YWCA whY Walk to end domestic violence at the Kona International Market on Saturday. (Laura Shimabuku/special to West Hawaii Today)
Donning 4-inch red heels, Bedazzled pumps and an array of other stylish women’s shoes, scores of Big Islanders took a stand against violence Saturday in Kailua-Kona.
“We have to get the word out and get people to pay attention to violence,” said Roger Keller, a participant in the YWCA of Hawaii Island’s 2012 whY Walk fundraiser. “It’s everybody’s problem, and it shouldn’t be tolerated at any level. We know it’s there, and we have to stop it.”
The 2012 whY Walk attracted 80 people, including men and women of all ages, who trekked about a mile around the Kona Commons area to raise awareness about not only domestic violence, but also child abuse and neglect, and sexual assault. The whY Walk was formerly known as the “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event.
“It’s a stand against violence, and it’s a fun way to talk about a tough topic,” said Lorraine Davis, YWCA of Hawaii Island interim chief executive officer. “It’s saying that violence does not belong in our community whether it’s domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, or sex assault.”
The nonprofit, which offers sex assault support services and therapy, teen court and Healthy Start support programs for parents of children infant to 3 years old, hoped to raise about $25,000 to support its programs in both West and East Hawaii, she said. Simultaneous events were held both in Kona and Hilo with local celebrities wearing fancy shoes.
For Kona chiropractor Odin Willmott, the event was a means for him to not only serve a good cause, but also help to promote awareness about violence and support victims. The first-timer hoped the 4-inch red heels he selected for the hike would attract a good deal of attention during the event.
“I want to get more awareness out there about a problem in the community we are trying to avoid,” he said about violence.
“I want to get the point across.”
To get involved or donate to YWCA of Hawaii Island, visit ywcahawaiiisland.org or call the Hilo office at 935-7141.